Selection of carcinogens and related compounds tested for mutagenic activity

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1979 Apr;62(4):833-40.


A list of 102 chemicals was prepared for subsequent mutagenesis assays in a National Cancer Institute program to determine the extent of correlation between carcinogenesis and mutagenesis in standardized assays. The chemicals were divided into five major categories: 37 aromatic amines, 11 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, 8 nitrosamines and nitrosamides, 16 alkylating agents, and a miscellaneous category consisting of 11 heterocyclic compounds, 7 amides, ureas and acylating agents, 5 antimetabolites, 4 inorganic chemicals, and 3 promoters. The chemicals were further described as procarcinogens (requiring metabolic activation to exert their biologic activities), ultimate carcinogens (direct-acting chemicals not requiring metabolic activation), and noncarcinogens (compounds shown to be inactive in one or more adequate carcinogenicity tests). An extensive bibliography documents the selection and categorization of the compounds.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkylating Agents / pharmacology
  • Amines / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Azo Compounds / pharmacology
  • Biotransformation
  • Carcinogens* / metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Hydrazines / pharmacology
  • Mutagens*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Nitrosamines / pharmacology
  • Polycyclic Compounds / pharmacology


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Amines
  • Azo Compounds
  • Carcinogens
  • Hydrazines
  • Mutagens
  • Nitrosamines
  • Polycyclic Compounds